|Middle Eastern version of fajitas|
I classify this as a recipe for the weekend because the lamb benefits from some marinading and skewering the meat and vegetables can be fiddly. It can, however, be a quick weekday meal, if it has been prepared a day in advance and left in the fridge.
I had made baba ganoush (aubergine dip) previously and had some lamb chops in the fridge so I decided to make a Middle Eastern version of fajitas, using baba ganoush instead of guacamole and tzatziki instead of sour cream. I headed to North End Road in Fulham, which is lined with Middle Eastern delicatessens where you can buy lots of interesting imported foods. I bought some flat bread, some Turkish yoghurt and some cumin seeds.
I've always been a bit agnostic as to the difference between a fajita and a burrito, so I decided to look it up. Although 'fajar' means 'to wrap' in Spanish, the name originally comes from 'faja' referring to the cut of meat (skirt steak) that was used. 'Burrito' means little ass in Spanish, which is topical given that I am writing this in December. The name may have been suggested because the rolled up tortilla vaguely resembles the ear of a donkey. Either way, burritos are generally served closed and the fillings are slow cooked, such as braised meat and refried beans.
Preparation: 30 minutes, plus at least an hour marinading
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Cost: £3-4 per head
4 Lamb chops, chopped into inch cubes
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, freshly ground with a pestle and mortar
2 cloves of garlic, sliced or pressed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 skewers per person (if using wooden ones, soak in water to prevent burning)
1 large red pepper, chopped into inch squares
12 button mushrooms
1 large onion, cut into 6 segments and then halved
Flatbread, microwaved or toasted in a dry frying pan
Baba ganoush (aubergine dip)
Prepare the kebabs by alternating lamb, onions, mushroom and red pepper. Place under the grill and turn every 3-4 minutes to prevent burning. I used a silicon baking sheet, to prevent them from sticking.
You can make the spiced rice like you would a risotto, while the kebabs are under the grill. Finely chop a small onion and a stick of celery and fry in a little olive oil with a pinch of cumin seeds for 3 minutes. Add 100g of long grain rice and fry for a further couple of minutes. Add vegetable stock bit by bit, until the rice is cooked in about 10-15 minutes. Remove the kebabs from under the grill, add the juices from the lamb to the rice and sprinkle with some cayenne pepper.